Paul Deschanel was the President of France for seven months in 1920. In the middle of his presidency a strange incident occurred.
A trackwalker on the Paris, Lyons and Mediterranean Railroad was trudging along a hundred miles south of Paris last night. It was a few minutes before midnight. The air was chill. The moon had gone down. Along the track toward him came a slightly built man wearing silk pyjamas.
“I am Deschanel, President of the Republic and I have just fallen off my train.”
The trackwalker thought the man was crazy, but he escorted him to Lorcy where a message was sent to the next station at which the train would stop. When the members of the presidential entourage were informed, they assured the station master that there must be some mistake. They searched all compartments except the President’s as he had left word he was not to be disturbed before 7:00 am.
When at last his valet did enter the carriage to help the President dress it was noticed that he was indeed missing; the window was wide open with the curtain fluttering in the breeze…..
Previously his eccentric behaviour had also caused consternation when on one occasion after a delegation of schoolgirls had presented him with a bouquet, he tossed the flowers back at them one by one. Shortly after the incident with the train he walked out of a state meeting and straight into a lily pond, remaining there for several hours before being fished out by a gardener.
Read about this Bugatti fished out of Lake Maggiore here